Around 1.5 million people came out for the Pride in London festival on Saturday.
Hundreds of thousands joined the Pride march for LGBT+ rights—and hundreds of thousands more lined the route and danced in the streets of central London.
Many were first-time Pride goers. Litesh told Socialist Worker, “For me coming to Pride is all about celebrating and having a good time.
“In the last 100 years a lot has changed for LGBT+ people—being gay used to be a crime but now it’s being accepted.”
Greyson, a school student, had come to Pride wrapped in the pink, white and blue flag, which is used by many Trans people. They told Socialist Worker, “It’s about being able to express yourself without worrying.”
But Greyson added that the fight for LGBT+ rights was far from over, pointing to attacks on LGBT+ people. “Many people still have a problem with us expressing ourselves—especially socially,” they said.
Raji was “overwhelmed” by coming to the Pride because of his experiences in India where the right wing government is attacking LGBT+ people. He told Socialist Worker, “In India homosexuality isn’t illegal anymore, but we still do not have a lot of civil rights.
“This means a lot, and hopefully we will have those rights soon.”
This year’s Pride march came against the backdrop of a rise in hate crime against LGBT+ people and a series of assaults. Homophobic hate crimes in the capital increased from 1,488 in 2014 to 2,308 in 2018.
Labour mayor of London Sadiq Khan said “huge, huge” progress in LGBT+ rights should be celebrated. But he pointed to the “heartbreaking” attack on a night bus in London. A group of young people assaulted Melanie Geymout and Chris last month.
Khan also slammed Tory leadership hopeful Boris Johnson for using the “same sort of language,” saying that “language matters”.
There should be a sense of anger against such attacks on Pride.
The theme of Pride in London was “Jubilee” to mark 50 years since Stonewall. The riot at the Stonewall Inn in New York in June 1969 gave birth in the US and Britain to the Gay Liberation Front (GLF).
This was a militant mass movement that looked for revolutionary change to end oppression. It will take that sort of militancy again to take on the bigots and win real liberation.